Threats and prevention efforts in Utah
Just how serious is this problem? These invasive mussels:
Jeopardize power and water infrastructures
Invasive mussels reproduce rapidly and coat any stable surface— including water intake pipes. If these animals establish populations in Utah, our water transport facilities will deliver less water and require additional maintenance (increasing your bill). They may also suffer temporary—but frequent—closures to remove mussels from equipment.
Destroy your favorite recreation areas and equipment
Invasive mussels reproduce so rapidly that their shells carpet beaches. These shells are sharp, so beachgoers will have to wear footwear at all times. The decaying mussels release a putrid smell that clings to the air and water. Finally, the mussels plug water circulation systems on watercraft, overheating motors that are costly to repair.
| Cost billions of dollars to control
In the United States, zebra mussels cost the power industry $3.1 billion from 1993 –1999, with an impact on industries, businesses, and communities of more than $5 billion¹. If mussels become established in Utah, they are predicted to cost the state $15 million per year in increased costs— potentially driving up tax rates.
¹ New York Sea Grant 1994a